The Magic of Aromatherapy Lies in Essential Oils ~ The Life Force and the Soul of A Plant
“For scent was a brother of breath. Together with breath it entered human beings, who could not defend themselves against it, not if they wanted to live. And scent entered into their very core, went directly to their heads, and decided for good and ill between affection and contempt, disgust and lust, love and hate. He who ruled scent ruled the hearts of men.”
~ Patrick Suskind “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” 1985
What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are the volatile, aromatic liquids that are extracted from flowers, grasses, leaves, fruits, bark, roots, and resins. These highly concentrated extracts contain hormones, vitamins, antibiotics and antiseptics. Each one has a unique, intense, and complex chemical make-up — their molecular structure actually changes the chemical compound of the air around you. They stimulate the neurotransmitters in the brain that relate to memory, sexual feelings, emotions, moods, and creativity. Essential oils enter and leave the body with great efficiency, and with few exceptions, leave no toxins behind. The magic of essential oils is that they awaken the self-healing capabilities innate within each one of us.
Essential Oils are highly concentrated and extremely powerful. Just one drop of pure rose oil is equal to 30 roses, or 25 cups of an herbal infusion. When learning about and beginning to work with essential oils, remember that less is best – and safest. If you use too much of an essential oil it can have contradictory effects. Direct or ‘neat’ application of essential oils – with the exception of few – is not recommended. They need to be diluted in a carrier or base oil, like jojoba, avocado, or sweet almond oil, for example. Given the power of essential oils, one should never ingest them without the guidance of a certified aromatherapist.
Where Do I Begin?
The basic essential oil home kit should include lavender, eucalyptus or tea tree, a citrus, an herb, a resin or wood, an evergreen and a sweet floral.
Citrus: Lemon, Grapefruit, Orange, Tangerine, Bergamot, Petigrain
Spices/Herbs: Peppermint, Clary Sage, Basil, Rosemary, Sage, Juniper Berry, Clove, Geranium, Cinnamon, Coriander, Nutmeg
Resins: Frankincense, Myrrh
Woods: Cedarwood, Rosewood, Sandalwood, Birch, Camphor
Evergreens: Pines, Cypress
Sweet Floral: Jasmine, Rose, Neroli, Ylang-Ylang
Grasses/Roots: Vetiver, Lemongrass, Citronella
How Do I Choose Oils That Blend Well?
Essential oils are often described by their “note.” The three categories of classification are top note, middle note, and base note and these terms relate to the rate at which the oils evaporate – or how long the fragrance will last.
Top Notes: Essential oils that are classified as top notes are usually light, fresh, and uplifting. Top notes are highly volatile, fast acting, and give the first impression of the blend. They tend to be derived mostly from leaves, flowers, and flowering herbs, often have anti-viral properties, and are generally inexpensive, because they evaporate very quickly. (These oils have the smallest molecules.)
Middle Notes: These are your binding agents, bringing your other notes together to create a harmonious blend. We call them middle notes because they last longer than top notes, but not as long as base notes. Middle notes give balance to a blend, rounding out the overall aroma. Their scent is not always noticeable immediately, and may take a few minutes to ‘sink in.’ Middle notes tend to be soft and warm, and are often derived from spices or herbs. Their consistency varies.
Base Notes: Essential oils that are classified as base notes are normally heavy with a very solid fragrance. They linger for a long time and slow down the evaporation of the other oils. Their fragrance is usually intense and heady. Rich and relaxing in nature, these are the most expensive of all oils.
Tips for Blending
1. Select a quality carrier oil that best suits the purpose of your blend. Are you using on your body? Placing in a diffuser? Are you making a spray? Certain carrier oils work better for different methods.
2. Use Organic or High Quality Oils from a reputable source – this applies to your carrier oil as well.
3. Begin with 3 oils – more than that can be difficult when just starting out. Try beginning with one top, one middle, and one base note.
4. Remember that less is best. These are highly concentrated substances. One drop at a time.
5. Keep a notebook where you can record how many drops of each oil were used.
6. Create with intention. Think about the feeling you want to evoke, or the healing you wish to feel. In the first case, what scents correspond to the desired emotion? Does the smell of pine remind you of days spent camping as a child? Does orange make you feel happy and inspired? If you are seeking healing, do your research and see which oils are best suited to your intention.
7. Have fun and take it slow. Aromatherapy is a science, an art, and spiritual experience. Your practice will unfold and become richer with time.
Aromatherapy is an ancient art of healing that works on all levels — emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual – through the use of essential oils. It effects the “whole,” and is therefore a truly holistic form of healing, working in partnership with the body. As we continue to seek out more natural approaches to healing our bodies, the benefits of aromatherapy are well worth our attention.
Keep an eye out for more on Aromatherapy and Essential Oils in our upcoming posts.
Love & Blessings,
~ Dreaming Goddess
Must Have Essential Oils ~ A Few of the Basics
The information, advice, statements, and testimonials made about the essential oils, blends, and products mentioned on this web site have not been evaluated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The information on this site and the products listed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease, nor are they intended to replace proper medical help. It is always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any regimen with essential oils. User submitted testimonials are based on individual results and do not constitute a guarantee that you will achieve the same results – what works for one may not work for another.
For more information on Essential Oil Safety please click here.